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Community Spirit Bank officials, Superintendent Greg Hamilton and other school representatives join Belgreen student tellers to officially open the Bulldog Branch.

Community Spirit Bank opens Belgreen High School Bulldog Branch

After a few months of preparation, the student-led Bulldog Branch of Community Spirit Bank is officially open on the Belgreen High School campus.

A grand opening and ribbon cutting celebrated the new branch Feb. 19, with CSB and school officials in attendance.

“This is a student-led branch, and it is a 100 percent private partnership with the school. Community Spirit is proud to invest in this opportunity to teach students more about financial literacy, on-the-job training and real-world scenarios,” said bank President and CEO Brad Bolton as he welcomed guests to the Tuesday ceremony. “We know this project is something we will be proud of for years to come.”

The new student-led financial literacy branch is located within the admissions office on the Belgreen campus and will offer traditional banking products to Belgreen students, teachers and staff only; the Bulldog Branch will not be open to the general public. All grades, elementary
through senior high, are welcome to use the on-campus Bulldog Branch for their limited banking transactions.

“We believe educating the next generation in financial tools is essential to their development,” Bolton said. “Our commitment to on-the-job learning and financial literacy came from our investment in the EverFi program, which led to our first student-led branch in Red Bay. As we
evaluated other opportunities, Belgreen was a perfect fit for the bank. We have had a longstanding relationship with Belgreen High School, dating back some 25 years when we had an elementary reading program.”

Student bankers underwent a formal interview process in December, and those selected completed on-site training earlier in February. Student tellers are Autumn Bragwell, Abigail Davis, Anna Kate Dempsey, Ansley Tate, Emma Dempsey, Ismal Lopez, Bailey Oliver, Scout Bragwell, Reagan Showers, Ella Wiginton and Alexis Keenum.

Bolton said in addition to the valuable money management skills they will learn, the student bankers will gain first-hand learning experience on how to work together, interact with customers and adapt to real-world situations.

“I have heard excellent feedback on this group – how bright, dedicated and engaged they were throughout interviews and their training,” Bolton said. “We’d like to extend an important thank you to these students.”

Community Spirit Bank places great emphasis, Bolton said, on advancing the financial literacy of the students in local schools. As a press release announcing the new branch explains, “This is a great opportunity to bring banking to these students and this campus. We believe it will serve
generations of students and will be something the student body, faculty, administrators and the community can be proud of.”

CSB extended thanks to Franklin County Career Technical Center director Scott Wiginton for his proactive initiative to help bring banking to county schools; Greg Hamilton, superintendent; Ann Scott, Belgreen principal; Derek Ergle, assistant principal; Georgia Jeffreys, guidance
counselor; and Tressa Bragwell, school branch facilitator, for their support in launching the newest in-school student branch.

“Community Spirit Bank is a 110-year-old financial institution and has a long history of investing back to the communities in which we serve,” Bolton said. “Our mission as a community financial institution is to develop and serve our communities, customers and employees. On
behalf of the officers, directors and employees of Community Spirit Bank, we are excited to add this location where students can lead and demonstrate the ‘community spirit’ of their Bulldog Branch, as we attempt to provide each day.”